Vijender: Olympic bronze bigger than WBO title

He may have become the darling of professional boxing and its torchbearer in India after his WBO Asia Pacific Championship title win late on Saturday night but for Vijender Singh, the Olympic bronze medal remains his most prized possession.

Elated and exhausted, Vijender said he was ready for the tougher challenges ahead but was looking to rest “may be for a month or so” before deciding on his future plans.   -  PTI

He may have become the darling of professional boxing and its torchbearer in India after his WBO Asia Pacific Championship title win late on Saturday night but for Vijender Singh, the Olympic bronze medal remains his most prized possession.

Vijender admitted holding the belt felt special but refused to rate it above the 2008 medal that first made him a star. “It is because of the Olympic medal that I am here. People know Vijender Singh because of the medal, before that no one knew me. That Olympic medal is very special for me, even this belt is special for me but this is different,” he said minutes after defeating Australian Kerry Hope over 10 rounds.

Elated and exhausted, Vijender said he was ready for the tougher challenges ahead but was looking to rest “may be for a month or so” before deciding on his future plans. He would have to defend his title in the next two months. “My WBO ranking is 15, I will get harder fights now but I am ready for it. I will work with my coaches and my team,” the 30-year old said.

Asked about the possibility of a showdown with Pakistan-origin British boxer Amir Khan, who has expressed a desire to take on Vijender in India, Vijender said: “Our weight categories are different so if he increases his weight or I decrease mine then we can work it out. We are thinking about it, let’s see. I hope whenever that happens, it happens in India only,” Vijender said.

The Indian clinched his seventh straight win on the pro circuit and the Super Middleweight title by outlasting former WBC European champion Hope, whom he appreciated as a great fighter and had respect for. Amir is primarily a lightweight boxer who tested himself in the middleweight category against world champion Saul Canelo Alvarez but was knocked out in the sixth round.

Vijender’s promoter Francis Warren admitted a face-off with Amir would be interesting. “In the long term, we will keep an eye on Amir Khan. That fight over here will be phenomenal, it will be a massive fight. We have tentatively talked with Amir’s team, I know they want it, I know Vijender wants it,” Warren said.